Field Notes – October 21, 2000

I attended a model forest tour at Zena Timber in Rickreal sponsored by the Forest Stewards Guild. The land owners and managers put on a well organized event. Their philosophy and manaement efforts were a great leap forward from a clear-cut and plant tree farm for creating and maintaining natural habitat. Their goal to maintain 30% hardwoods in their conifer stands adds much to the diversity of the landscape. The management plan for their forest requires that all heavy equipment stay on a system of permanent skid trail. Logs are cable winched to the trail, then skidded to the landing. This is more labor intensive but intended to reduce soil compaction and damage to subterranean life.

Questions were raised that were relevant to the management of the. Gahr Farm forest. The question is, in the Willamette Valley region with little summer rain, is soil damage from operating a crawler tractor in the forest ,in mid to late summer, a meaningful problem? There are numerous advantages in moving the machine to the log over winching in addition to efficiency. The end of the log is pulled up causing less soil rutting than winching. In a mixed stand with wide canopy hardwoods directional falling toward the skid trail is more problematic than in a conifer stand. The crawler tractor can take multi-directional route to avoid damage to other trees. Soil disturbance from a crawler tractor can aid in tree seed germination and regeneration.

Field Notes – June 16, 2000

Weather: Sunny, warm, east wind

Wetlands: Spray rolled dikes with 1 cup Roundup to 100gal on 6-10-00

Wildlife: Today spotted a Pond Turtle in a flooded barrow across the dike from the from the frog ponds in the WRP (Wetland Reserve Program) site.

Plants: Put root divisions of the Aster (Eriophyllum lanatum) Oregon Sunshine into Gal. pots on 6-12-00.

Bed & Breakfast: Beginning construction of new bedroom and bath in the garage of the main house 6-12-00.

Field Notes – May 19, 2000

Weather: Cloudy cool. Snow on Peavine ridge yesterday.

Wetlands: Rains stopped yesterday afternoon and wetlands pools have lowered some.

Wildlife: This spring about 6 Pheasant cocks are observed regularly. Most seem to be Ringneck-Sichuan crosses. On April 19 saw about six blue butter flys in the Oak leaves in front of the shop. Caught two in a jar and photographed them for ID. Sent slide in to crop and enlarge 5X7 prints. Also having a CD made. Since then have seen a single blue near the house and by the stream crossing.

Plants: The mini-lupine in excavated parking area have been blooming for over week. Some of these are in the recently constructed drainage channels of the upper wetlands. Both areas have about 6 inches of top material excavated. The seeds may have been exposed. The large leaf lupine are shooting up flower stocks.

Forest: The wild Cherries have a good crop of berries. Need ID on these trees as they don’t have red cherries as indicated for the native BitterCherry.

Field Notes – May 12, 2000

Weather: Rainy and cool.

Wetlands: Cool rainy spell for about 4 days has caused the upper wetlands to begin filling again. The riparian wetlands remain full. A few Mallard ducks remain and may be nesting on the farm. Foraging Tree swallows are very numerous over the wetlands.

Wildlife: Saw 18 Elk, calves, yearlings, and bulls in velvet. Very few older cows. Saw many frogs on the banks of the
upper forest pond which looked like Red-legged frogs.

Plants: Divided Nelson’s Checker mallows into gallons and some large tree pots with multiple plants. Took cuttings by pulling shoots from Kincaids Lupine?? on rock outcrop in WRP site 5-7-00. Pulled shoots from large leaf Lupine 4-27-00 and put in Alder bark bed and pots. Root divisions taken 4-1-00 Are doing well in Alder bark mounds.

Forest: Took cuttings from wild Cherry tree and put them in tree pots and barkdust beds. Treated cuttings by immersing in 5 gal bucket with a solution of Lilly Miller Dip’n grow liquid rooting concentrate for 3 hours. ( 1 Tablespoon liquid solution 1% idole-3butyric acid +0.5%naphthaleneacetic acid in 4 gal water). Transplanted wild cheery seedling, 3 leaf, in gal pots.

Crops: Yellow Vetchling (annual volunteer) transplants are doing poorly and turning purple. It is making good growth in the wetlands and looks like a promising cover crop for wet sites. Planted Blueberries in Alder mounds near the house 18-4″ pots & 1- 1gal pot.

Commercial: John Sorrenson received the Cherry log in Alaska 4-30-00 that was cut from the farm and will begin experimenting for furniture use.

Outreach: Checker-mallow recovery site recruitment letter was printed in 5-00 Incahoots newsletter.

Field Notes – April 23, 2000

Wildlife: 24 Elk sighted on the farm for two days 4-17 & 18. Mostly calves and yearlings. One older lead cow. Bulls were in velvet. Barn Swallows arrived 4-20-00. Groups of Tree and barn Swallows are flying over the wetlands today. Small Pollywogs are visible in the frog ponds. In the series of upland ponds the lower ponds have many more than the upper ponds. A very small pond 8 by 6 ft less than a foot deep constructed about 1996 is well populated. This pond is well vegetated with grasses and sedges and no visible newts. Small flocks of Teal and a few Mallards are using the wetlands and ponds. Many Snipes and some shore birds are visible in thwe mudflats and shallows. Killdeers are starting to nest.
Wetlands & Streams- Most of the upper wetlands have drained down except for the ones along the new stream channel. I have been taking shoots from Veronica americana or American brooklime from the lower wetlands and planting them along the edges of the upper ponds. This is rated as an edible plant for salads or a potherb. It also provides shoreline cover for pollywogs.

Plants: The Checker-mallow are still in the primary growth stage with mostly obular leaves with a very few beginning to show the secondary divided leaves. Propagation cuttings will be taken form the divided leaf shoots. Pea plants are spreading in the upper wetlands near Muddy Valley Road. They seem to prefer moist swales that are not inundated for long periods. It may be a valuable legume for farmed wetyland rotation, or it may be a pesky weed. The extension service has a sample for ID.

Forest: The wild Cherries are fading rapidly and the wild apples are in bloom. The deer grazed the blooms from the Sessile trillium in the woods. The riparian Trilliums were in peak bloom about the middle of April. The wild Geraniums and Camas are in peak bloom.
Farming- Have been mowing part of the fields near the houses.
Residential- Planted 18 new Blueberry plants around the main house.

Commercial: Sent an 7ft by 9inch diameter Bitter Cherry log to John Sorrenson Cabinetry in Alaska to test for woodworking purposes.

Field Notes – Summary 1999

Outreach & Preservation: We have completed the process of protecting 117 acres with a conservation easement with the USDA Wetland Reserve Program. This will insure that the area remains a wetland and includes a management goal of enhancing natural life habitat of the site. The easement was purchased and funds are available for improvements. The site includes all the streams, riparian areas and flood plains on the farm. All the 30 acre flood plain is now converted to constructed wetlands.

Wetlands & Streams: We have constructed another 30 acres of wetlands in order to continue our experiments with farming wetlands which is not permitted in WRP site at this time. The 8 plus inches of rain through Nov 20 has fallen very gently and the streams are just beginning to flow enough to fill the frog ponds along the riparian area.. The channelized stream now splits into a meandering stream channel that was constructed this summer to experiment with controlled flows to provide fish refuge during flood events. An adjustable gate will reduce velocity in the new channel. The older straight channel had become choked with cattails mint and willows and observable fish activity had declined. The dozer was used to make a series of debris and clay dams which created a series of pools and raised the channel water level substantially. From past observation, Nutria move into pools and cut out cattails creating open water which increased the fish activity. Seasonal streams provide spawning and refuge habitat for many forms of aquatic life. The new stream channel will run through a more open wetland prairie while the old channel will be shaded with trees and shrubs to observe aquatic activity and water temperatures in the different environments.

Cropland: About 30 acres will be planted in the new wetlands this spring. These are not in the WRP protected site. Past experience has demonstrated increased production of spring planted crops in seasonal wetlands that can be drained early enough to work the soil. The new wetlands will only get runoff from the Farm.